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BioCop - New Technologies to Screen Multiple Contaminants in Foods
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The Project

The Project Summary
Summary of the BioCop project.
The Project Objectives
Objectives of the BioCop project.
BioCop Structure
Shows the structure of the BioCop project and the organisations involved.
Work Packages
Information on the 13 different BioCop Work Packages.
Benefits to the Consumer
Benefits of the BioCop programme for Consumers.
Benefits for Scientists
Benefits of the BioCop programme for Scientists.
Benefits to the Food Industry
Benefits of the BioCop programme to the Food Industry.
Current BioCop vacancies.

The Project Summary

The BioCop Project has been constructed to supply regulators, consumers and industry with long-term solutions to the complex problems associated with chemical contaminant monitoring.

A range of new technologies such as transcriptomics, proteomics and biosensors will be utilised within the project. These new approaches are based on measuring effect rather than on measuring single target compound concentrations. The 'biomarker and fingerprinting' concept is key to this strategy. Substantial advances in sample preparation will be achieved using novel procedures such as aptamers, microwave assisted extraction and pressurised liquid extraction. Renowned experts from all classes of chemical contaminants will oversee the project to ensure fit-for-purpose tests are developed and validated to the required standards. BioCop has included all classes of compounds referred to in the call text (pesticides, environmental contaminants including heavy metals, natural toxins, therapeutic drugs and endocrine disrupters).

The small to medium enterprise (SME) cluster in the project will ensure full exploitation of all developed technologies. This will be greatly assisted by the substantial phase of demonstration and training to all stakeholders included within the project.

Dissemination activities to all stakeholders (regulators, food industries, laboratory networks and consumers) will be well organised by communication experts. Consumer groups will be informed about the aims and progress of BioCop from the start of the project to the very end and will have mechanisms to feed back any views and concerns they have with regard to the highly important and emotive issue of food safety.

The successful management of such an ambitious project will be a key to its success. A BioCop matrix management system has been developed to ensure high level organisation and communication exists.

Strategic objectives addressed:

  1. Strengthening the European Research Area (ERA) relating to substantial improvements in chemical contaminant monitoring in foods;
  2. Radical improvement in the ability to monitor for many classes of chemical contaminants present in cereals, meats, seafood and processed foods. These methods will meet European Maximum Residue Level (MRL) targets and/or agreed international standards where no MRLs presently exist;
  3. Improvements and validation of physio-chemical detection methods to fulfil recognised criteria and thus be accepted for enforcement purposes;
  4. Extensive training and demonstration of newly developed monitoring methods to the full array of potential end-users (industrial and governmental) to advance technology exploitation by industrial partners;
  5. Increase level of trust of the European consumer in the food supply chain.

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